~ david coombe history


Gasworks Hotel

Chief-street, Brompton

 Elisha Rundle & Josephine M. B. Rundle

Licensed Dealers in Wines and Spirits

Licensed Dealers in Colonial Wines


Deaths at Josephine's (eBook) | About | History | News | Notices | Links | Characters | Engage



Welcome to the Gasworks Hotel in 1863 to 1874. They were Josephine’s years.


This is the companion website for the true history e-book:

Deaths at Josephine’s Gasworks Hotel

A Victorian Investigation


Immerse yourself in Victorian intrigue and the world of publican Josephine. A story never before told. A suspicious death, a coroner’s inquest, a Supreme Court verdict of fraud and a family cut out of a last minute will. Did Josephine kill this man and three others? Climb aboard the investigative journey. Includes a readers’ guide for book groups.


The author brings together, for the first time, the case that Josephine may have murdered four men at her Victorian era Gasworks Hotel – two of them husbands.


This is a story highly evocative of the times – the language; the social norms. It is mostly a story about ordinary people, although some of the characters rose to great heights in South Australia as premier, police commissioner and city coroner. The conclusion, however, is anything but ordinary.


This is the true story of Josephine. From 1863 to 1874 she was the publican at the Gasworks Hotel in Brompton, an inner suburb of Adelaide, South Australia. Was she also a serial killer?


Click here to jump to how to sample or buy or continue reading about the book.

Book Club in the Pub

“It’s more than just a read, it’s an experience. About the price of a 21st century coffee. Or an ale at the Gasworks Hotel. But no need to choose between two good things. Buy the e-book, follow on Twitter for historical colour and read with a coffee, ale or colonial wine at your “local” or on the actual location at the modern Gaslight Tavern, as they call it now. Get your book club down to the pub! Immerse yourself in the story, characters, place and time.” The Author.

What Readers are Saying

"Didn't do very much work today as I read the whole book. I found it fascinating and you have done such a wonderful job with it. Could not put the iPad down." Joan, April 2014


“The research is incredible. It gives great insight into the people and the times. It has given me a sense of Adelaide at that time… like ‘The Mayne Inheritance’ did for Brisbane.” Simon, June 2013


“A great read, drew me in. Very well written and researched.” Kat, May 2013


“Absolutely great reading, wow you have done a great job.” Kerry, March 2013


“Loved it. Unique style that suits the situation... Sequencing was interesting, yet it allowed the mystery to develop well. I liked your annexed extras.” Ian, March 2013

Buy the eBook or Download a Free Sample


Visit your favourite e-book store to download a free sample or buy the full book. If obtaining for your Kindle, just search for “Gasworks Hotel”. If you have an iPad® you can get it very easily from Apple iBooks (link below). If you do not have a mobile device and wish to read on your computer, I suggest Smashwords (link below) which has good options and instructions for reading on a computer or – it pains me to say it for an e-book – for printing.


e-book stores: Amazon Australia, Amazon UK,, Apple iBooks® / iTunes®, Smashwords (for just about any format), Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Inktera, Scribd, Diesel, Overdrive, &c.


Note: The latest version is edition 4.2. Diesel and Inktera carry recent editions but may still list under the old title “Was the Publican a Serial Killer?”


After Reading the Book

♠ I welcome your review; you can leave a review where you bought the book. And please tell others what you thought of it.

♠ There are ideas for book group discussion at the end of the book.

♠ You may wish to engage further with the story, discover new information that comes to light (updates via twitter) or pose questions.

♠ If you follow on Twitter, you can step back 150 years ago. There is plenty of news from the district, city, colony, other colonies and the world.

♠ Read my other (better) book, Three Rabbits Alibi.

Edition History

2013-03-23 Edition 1 published, ISBN: 9781301824977. Original title: “Was the Publican a Serial Killer?”

2013-08-23 Edition 2 – New title, extra narrative, new material.

2013-09-15 Edition 3 – More Rundle material, especially Elisha.

2013-11-26 Edition 4 – Two new chapters with related cases. Now also on Amazon.

2013-12-17 Edition 4.1 – Minor editorial. Format changes to improve consistency across bookstores.

2015-04-28 Edition 4.2 – Minor editorial.


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© David Coombe, 2013-16.